Facebook to roll out free version of Workplace

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Workplace (formerly Facebook at Work) is Facebook’s enterprise offering that was released last year in an attempt to steal some of the market share held by apps like Slack.

Now, Facebook has decided to offer a free version of Workplace – a move that will remove a significant barrier to adoption for many businesses: cost.

However, the bad news is that the free offering will not come with administrative tools and key enterprise features.

Nevertheless, the free version of Workplace will undoubtedly appeal to smaller, more cost-sensitive businesses which want to leverage such a tool.

Known as Workplace Standard, the free Facebook business offering will be initially released as a beta. It won’t include any administrative controls; monitoring tools; single sign-on; and some security compliance measures, nor will it integrate with third-party services, according to Facebook.

But Facebook isn’t the first company to push a free app for businesses. Slack, for example, already offers a free version with limited features, designed to get businesses used to using the platform.

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Despite having fewer features than its premium sibling, Workplace Standard will still incorporate many familiar Facebook elements, such as News Feed, messaging, search, groups, Facebook Live, and Reactions, while all the time keeping users’ personal and business profiles separate.

Facebook’s decision to offer a free version of Workplace could suggest that the social network’s paid offering hasn’t experienced the level of interest or uptake that the company was expecting – especially among smaller businesses or those in emerging markets.

Speaking about the introduction of Workplace Standard, Simon Cross, product manager at Workplace by Facebook, said: “We’re really happy with how adoption’s gone, especially with Workplace Premium. “There are just some companies and some situations in which people want to use a version of Workplace without necessarily having to pay for it, and they don’t necessarily need all the features that we’ve baked into Workplace Premium.”

Will Facebook’s move be enough for your business to try Workplace?

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